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Chicago Mayor Election: Preckwinkle, Lightfoot square off in first head-to-head forum

By Craig Wall, ABC 7 News

The two women fighting it out to become Chicago’s next mayor met in their first head-to-head forum Thursday night. Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot have just a handful of weeks to convince voters they are the best one to lead Chicago forward.

The gloves came off quickly after Preckwinkle criticized Lightfoot for being a successful corporate attorney, which is also part of Preckwinkle’s first attack ad.

“For somebody like Toni Preckwinkle and her people to criticize me for being successful, I find it highly ironic,” Lightfoot said.

“For the last 13 years she has been an equity partner, that’s an owner, that defends big tobacco, that defends big pharma, that defends environmental polluters,” Preckwinkle countered.

Lightfoot also launched her first ad attacking Toni Preckwinkle for her attack ad on Lightfoot and highlighting the fact Preckwinkle hired Ed Burke’s son.

In the forum, the decorum quickly disappeared.

Both candidates said crime was a key issues facing the city, but they clashed over the future of Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

“I’ve said that we need a superintendent that would acknowledge the challenges that we face, one of those is a code of silence in the police department, and the other is racism in the department, and he hasn’t been willing to do that,” said Preckwinkle.

“I don’t think it’s right or fair to, frankly, pander to the crowd as President Preckwinkle has done, to make the superintendent a lame duck,” said Lightfoot.

Lightfoot’s endorsement from a firefighters union Thursday was her second labor endorsement.

“Her opponent is a very nice woman and she’s done some good things but we feel Lori is the person that’s going to bring Local 2 and the city of Chicago forward,” said Jim Tracy, President, Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2, earlier in the day.

But the endorsement and some alderman who joined in caused another flare up.

“She accepted today the endorsement today from Alderman Sposato and Alderman Napolitano, both of whom are Trump supporters,” said Preckwinkle.

“What you are clearly determined to do from day one of the election and every day since, is to tell lie after lie,” Lightfoot retorted.

That prompted a swipe from Preckwinkle afterward.

“One of the most imports characteristics of leaders is that they be even tempered and judicious,” she said.

Afterwards Lightfoot said it’s clear Preckwinkle’s strategy will be about mudslinging.

Preckwinkle called that comment discouraging and said she’s just comparing and contrasting who they are.

This article originally appeared on ABC 7 News.

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